Here's a Breakdown of Your Wedding Planner's Fees
What you should know about service fees, hourly rates, reimbursable expenses, and more.
Wedding planners offer a variety of different services-some considering themselves logistics planners while others have a whole team of in-house designers, too. As you start researching wedding planners in your area, you'll quickly learn that it's not just their services that differ; their prices-and line items on each of their contracts-will also vary tremendously. Why? First and foremost, because the work they do is different. To help you better understand what you're paying for, we're breaking down some of the most common items you'll find on your wedding planner's bill, plus explaining the fee structures and rates couples need to be aware of.
Wedding Planning Services
Wedding planning is a service that's hard to quantify because the number of hours spent are really dependent on each couple, their personalities, and their specific event's needs. As such, most wedding planners come up with a flat rate for their services that should cover all the hours that could potentially go into planning your day. If you're hiring a planner to provide day-of coordination plus a little extra help in the month leading up to the wedding, they may prefer to bill hourly rate rather than charge a flat fee.
Design and Styling Fees
Most wedding planners who also handle big-day design will include this service in their overall planning fee. Depending on their billing format, they may also tack on a percentage of the final design and décor budget. It's important to know that the décor purchases and rentals will be charged separately.
Wedding Planner Alison Hotchkiss Rinderknecht of Alison Events suggests that most wedding planners charge for out of pocket expenses like per diem work, airfare, parking fees, tolls, mileage, car rentals, and more. This is especially true for destination weddings, as she explains that service charges are separate from expenses incurred during the planning.
Many planners include a lead planner as part of their offering, but will ask for additional assistance on the wedding day, especially if it's a large-scale event or one with lots of moving parts. This is typically charged as a day rate and can require any number of staff, but your planner usually won't have a clear idea of how many additional staff members will be needed on-site until closer to the big day.
Your wedding planner may quote an hourly rate for anything that's considered to be excess, or outside the scope of the original agreement. For instance, coordinating hotel rooms and transfers for guests is an all-consuming task that may not be part of the planner's wedding services. They may quote this as an hourly rate format or as a flat-fee additional service.